Poland voters face growth decisions


POLAND — The business portion of this year’s annual town meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 3, at the Poland Regional High School.

In addition to setting the budget, voters will be asked to make decisions that will affect how the town grows and develops for years to come.

The Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee are recommending that voters approve slightly more than $3 million, which includes about $700,000 for the 2010-11 capital improvement program, as the town’s budget.

Town Manager Dana Lee noted that this amount is either $8,000 or $15,000 less than the amount the town is operating on this year, depending on whether voters follow the selectmen’s or the Budget Committee’s recommendations.

The Budget Committee is recommending the full $59,500 being asked for by the trustees of the A.B. Ricker Memorial Library. Selectmen are recommending $52,000.

“At one time the library was self-sustaining. No money from the town. Selectmen would like to see town funding back away gradually,” Lee said.

Lee noted that a pay freeze for all town employees was key to keeping the budget at the current year’s level.

Voters will also decide the fate of two major infrastructure projects.

The first, for about $1 million, would extend the public water main from the Poland Regional High School south along Route 26, 8,000 feet to municipal facilities on Aggregate Road.

The second, for about $4.3 million, would extend public water and sewer mains from Poland Spring Bottling to the intersection of Maine Street and then along Route 26 north about 2,500 feet and south about 1,500 feet.

These projects would be bonded, payed for with funds from the downtown village tax increment financing account and the two Poland Spring TIF accounts, respectively.

Voters will be asked to repeal an ordinance for the recall of municipal officials as well as repeal the town’s cable television ordinance.

Two amendments to the Poland zoning map and five amendments to the town’s comprehensive land use code are also on the agenda.

Townspeople will be asked whether to accept a gift of about 10 acres of land between Route 26 and Brown Road, as well as a gift of about 25 acres of land on Bragdon Hill, adjacent to the town forest.

Roads high on the priority list for maintenance using funds from this year’s allocation include Jordan Shore Drive, Range Road, Downey Lane and Verrill Road, as well as Adams Bridge on Lane Road. Also, the town may match state funds if the state decides to do Megquier Hill Road.

Municipal elections

Polls will be open between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, April 2, at the Poland Town Hall, 1223 Maine St.

Voters will elect two selectmen for three-year terms and two school board members to serve three-year terms on the RSU 16 board.

There are four candidates for the two selectmen positions.

Incumbent Joseph Cimino is seeking a second term on the board. Cimino has previously served two years on the town Planning Board and six years on the board of appeals.

Sandra Knowles, former executive director of the Lewiston Housing Authority, is seeking to return to the board after an absence of several years. In addition to serving as selectmen for three years, Knowles served two years on the Budget Committee and five years on the Planning Board.

Incumbent Wendy Sanborn, currently employed by Harvest Hill Farms, has served on the Board of Selectmen for the past six years, the last two serving as chairmen of the board.

Lester Stevens has worked in Poland for 43 years, first for Ted Walker Plumbing and Heating and, for the past 23 years, as director of building services at the Poland Springs Resort. Stevens is active with the Poland Spring Preservation Society and for the past three years has served on its Heritage Day Celebration Committee.

There are three candidates for the two school board positions.

Incumbent Mary Ella Jones has served on the school committee for four years, a full three-year term and then, a year ago, after elections for the newly formed RSU 16 board, she served a one-year term. Jones served four years on the Library Board of Trustees and was a member of the Poland Community School PTA for about 14 years. She taught school for five years and currently handles financial management for the family business.

George Sanborn, who has been chairman of the Republican Party in Poland for the past two years, has four children in Poland schools. Sanborn has been responsible for recruiting candidates for public office, and this year decided that he should run for office. He is a self-employed contractor.

Ervin Walker III has been a maintenance mechanic for 12 years at the Poland Spring Bottling Co. and has served for six years as liaison for the Salvation Army in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland. Walker has three children at the Poland Community School and wants to change the high school’s pass/fail system to a regular grading system.